Robin McBryde says Wales have plenty of back row options for their game with England
Robin McBryde says Wales have more than enough strength in depth to compensate for the loss of Ryan Jones ahead of their meeting with England on Saturday.
We're fortunate that we've got a bit of strength in depth in the back row
Jones, who has led Wales to three consecutive victories over France, Italy and Scotland, suffered a broken shoulder in last Saturday's match at Murrayfield and will be out for between six and eight weeks.
His loss is a blow to Wales ahead of this weekend's Six Nations title decider at the Millennium Stadium but McBryde says they will do more than cope in his absence.
"Unfortunately Ryan is not going to be available at the weekend. He's broken a bone in his shoulder and he'll be out for between six to eight weeks." McBryde confirmed today.
"It's not the best of news for Ryan considering the vital role he's played for us but we're fortunate that we've got a bit of strength in depth in the back row.
"We've got the back row that finished at the weekend and we've got Aaron Shingler, James King and Andrew Coombs to fall back on so we've got quality players."
As forwards coach, McBryde admits the amount of scrum penalties given in the win over Scotland were frustrating but is looking forward to taking on the English pack.
While Jones has been ruled out, Gethin Jenkins has returned to training - again highlighting the depth available to interim head coach Rob Howley.
"Gethin did take an active part in training this morning so we'll be weighing up our options," McBryde added.
"We're on the back of two very strong scrummaging performances.
"England have got a quality front row with Dan Cole, whoever they choose to play at hooker and on the loose head they've got strength in depth so we need to be at our best.
"It's about getting that combination right in the front row. We've benefitted in that our players know each other inside out and we've been able to have that consistency of having the same front row players in the squad over a number of years."
With a few different selection decisions to make ahead of such a vital game, Wales will not rush into things according to McBryde.
"We'll sit down as a coaching group and go through all the different permutations," said the former Wales hooker.
"We're not under any pressure to make any decisions at the moment, we'll take our time in order to get things spot on for Saturday.
"We've given ourselves an opportunity and it's up to us to take it now."
Wales name their team to face England on Thursday.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.